Monday, July 02, 2007

Trillanes: In protection of personal dignity and honor

Thursday, 08 28, 2003
Daily Tribune

In protection of personal dignity and honor

Dear Editor:

This is to address the issues raised in the media against us during the last two weeks as part of the government's intensified "demolition job" against my person, which did not even spare my family. This is very unfortunate. They are apparently doing this in the hope that if my rep~t@tion is tarnished, the message we want to convey will also be stained as well. They have failed miserably. They are able, however, to temporarily distract the people from absorbing the true causes we have espoused when we went to Oakwood last July 27. To protect my personal dignity and the honor of my family and my loved ones, I am forced to defend myself through this letter.

The government, using the entire machinery and resources of the state, came up with the following accusations: (1) That I own eight luxurious vehicles; (2) That I had a P1-million investment at Glasgow; (3) That I am an incorporator of FYI Research and Consulting Group Inc.; and (4) That ammunition and explosives were supposedly found in my "house" in Talipapa Village in Novaliches, Quezon City.

According to government reports, I own a 2001 model Mitsubishi Pajero with license plate RIZ-222, a 1996 Nissan Terrano, a 1995 Kawasaki motorbike and five second-hand Japan-surplus Delicas. In truth, however, I only own the second-hand 1996 Nissan Terrano and it is not a luxury vehicle as compared to the Expeditions, Land Cruisers, Lexuses and Jaguars that many government and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officials own. I have never ever owned a Pajero or Kawasaki motorbike. In fact, I have never driven and I do not know how to ride a motorbike, not even once in my life. My license restriction can easily prove this fact.

As for the Pajero with license plate RIZ-222, the true owner thereof, a certain Darlito Roca, operations officer of Lydia's Lechon, has surfaced to claim and acknowledge his ownership thereof. This only goes to prove that this government will go to the extent of fabricating and manufacturing even crude evidence just to smear my name.

With regard to the five Delicas, the actual and beneficial owner thereof is my mother, a businesswoman who bought the same from the proceeds of a P2-million loan she obtained from a bank sometime in October 2000. Delicas are not luxury vehicles. In fact, they can be bought in lots for as low as P100,000 to P150,000 each. The intention was to operate a van rental service using these vehicles. These old vehicles, however, proved too costly to maintain. Hence, my mother opted to sell and dispose some of them.

The very idea that I would buy five vehicles of the same model and make for my personal use is quite absurd and illogical. The government obviously has very little respect for the intelligence of our people to concoct such a flimsy and dubious story. Again, these are not luxury vehicles and most definitely they are not mine! My mother's van rental business still operates to this day. It is duly registered with the Department of Trade and Industry under her name and is properly stamped and licensed by the Caloocan City Hall.

Regarding my alleged P1-million investment in Glasgow: It is true that my name is included among the list of the thousands victimized by Glasgow's sudden closure. The money, however, does not belong to me but to my mother. The said funds came from the same P2-million bank loan obtained in October 2000; she invested the same with Glasgow so the interest could cover the amortization and/or maintenance of the Delicas. Contrary to the information released by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), my mother never had the chance to cash in on the investment since it closed down before the post-dated checks they issued matured. These uncashed checks are still with us.

The government makes an issue out of the fact that my name appears as an incorporator of FYI Research and Consulting Group Inc., with a very minimal investment of P12,500.00.

The truth is that the company was formed by my best friend, Rolando Averilla, an instructor at the Asian Institute of Management. He invited me to join the company as a consultant and asked me to design the research format/template of the company. I readily accepted because I was then on schooling or study leave from my job at the AFP. I also took it as an opportunity to learn and further my knowledge in the said field and as part of my academic training while on school. I was also then contemplating on the possibility of shifting to another profession.

Is this a crime? No! As I have indicated above, even though I was still in the active service with the AFP, there is no conflict of interest between my job at the AFP, where I was on schooling or on study leave and my being a part-time consultant at FYI. The fact is, I was even twice recognized as a university scholar (or president's lister) and once as a college scholar (or dean's lister) while studying in University of the Philippines, showing that I was never remiss in my duties as an officer in the AFP on schooling/study leave.

Lastly and most recently, the government through the Philippine National Police (PNP) purportedly discovered a cache of ammunition and explosives together with parts of light anti-tank weapons and two "Magdalo" armbands in a "house" which I allegedly own. This claim is most pathetic.

I do not own and I have never owned a house or even a lot anywhere in Quezon City. As mentioned, I live with my family in the government-provided quarters of my wife at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in Baguio City.

Moreover, the claim that two brand new looking Magdalo armbands were found together with the cache (which were purportedly hidden in a dump or ditch) like calling cards conveniently left behind to ensure that the ownership of the items can be so easily established is too incredible and too stup~d to elicit belief. Is the government so d^mb to believe that the people would fall for such a tall tale?

Finally, I have received information that the government has been desperately trying to convince NGOs like E-JUST and VACC to take on the case of a certain Anastasia Santarin to portray me to the public that I am a heartless "land-grabber" in order to try to give credence to its arms cache claim and further demonize me before the public. This is very characteristic and very typical of this administration which has shown no qualms in resorting to fabricated evidence to pin down and discredit its adversaries. Suffice it to say that I do not own and I have never claimed ownership over the subject property.

In closing, I would like to say I honestly believe that I have served our country well. I am also certain that most definitely, I have never been corrupt in my entire AFP career. I can look my accusers straight in the eye and say I have never stolen a single centavo from the government.

Moreover, I would like to state for the record that nobody paid us to go to Oakwood. We are not mercenaries. Our lives have no price tags.

As for my lifestyle in general, I would like to point out some very important points the demolition specialists and spin doctors of this administration obviously ignored and/or conveniently overlooked:

First, I do not even have my own house! My family (i.e., my wife and two children) is staying at my wife's government-provided officers' quarters located inside the PMA Compound. She pays the rent through her quarter's allowance at P1,000 a month (as including water and electricity). My two children are enrolled at a simple pre-school also located inside the PMA with a tuition of P400.00 each child per month. Together, my wife and I earn around P50,000 a month and this is more than enough for us.

Second, I have a very simple, almost boring lifestyle: I do not play golf nor do I have expensive hobbies. I do not smoke and neither do I drink liquor. My time with my wife and my kids are often spent playing in parks or public promenades, watching movies or dining out in fastfood chains. This is my lifestyle and simple as it is, I am proud of it!

God has been very good to me by blessing me with a happy family and promising career and I am ever thankful for it. Then again, he also opened my eyes to the corrupt system that is pulling our country down and our people to poverty. What must I do? I could have chosen the easy path of developing apathy toward reform. I could have simply given in and join the system, enjoying the fruits of corruption. Or I could have chosen the easier path of just resigning from the service and leave the problems to be solved by the next generation.

I did none of these. Instead, I chose the most difficult path of standing up for what I believed was right, moral and just. In the process, I also risked losing everything I had: my family, my career — even my very own life and those of my friends and our men!

We are not messiahs and we never pretended to be messiahs. We are only messengers and we can only hope the people have heard our message — that the Arroyo administration has betrayed the people's trust and the corruption in the AFP continues unabated and is principally responsible for the never-ending wars in our country!

Now, we are languishing in jail awaiting our court trial for cases where we can be sentenced to death. This is not enough, however, for this vindictive administration. It has to unleash its attack dogs in the Cabinet, in the Senate and Congress as well as in the media on us to trample upon something that we have so closely guarded and protected ever since we graduated from PMA — our HONOR.

They jeered and vilified us and now they threaten to drag us and our families, friends and loved ones down with us for reasons only they will ever know. May God have mercy on them!

Lt. S/G Antonio Trillanes IV
Philippine Navy

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